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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Find the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Claremont CA, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Claremont CA

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Claremont CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Claremont California interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Claremont CA. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Claremont California interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Claremont CA home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Claremont California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Claremont CA college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Claremont CA business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Claremont CA schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Claremont CA schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Claremont home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Claremont CA, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaPicking the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.